Milwaukee’s mayoral race takes center stage in the April 5 election, but the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is also offering a running slate, including those featuring serving supervisors who have been transferred in press districts following a redistribution.
Five current supervisors now face challengers, including District 1’s Liz Sumner and District 3’s Sheldon A. Wasserman, who both made it out of the primary elections in February.
Of the council’s 18 supervisors, six were relocated as the county’s district lines were redrawn following the months-long redistricting process that ended in January. That leaves supervisors Willie Johnson, Jr. and John F. Weishan, Jr. running for new district seats.
This change in district lines opened the races again, with Franklin Ald. Steven Taylor (a former County Supervisor) running in District 17 and former State Rep. Josh Zepnick, who lost his seat after being charged with kissing two women without their consent in District 12.
Some familiar names, however, will not reappear on the ballot. District 11’s Joseph J. Czarnezki, District 12’s and Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, District 14’s Jason Haas and District 15’s Eddie Cullen all filed non-candidates.
And on the northwest side of Milwaukee, District 18 will have a blank ballot.
While incumbent Russell Antonio Goodwin, Sr., met the Milwaukee County election deadline of Jan. 4 to file his nomination signatures, he was missing six of the 200 signatures needed to appear on the ballot. .
Goodwin announced he would be running a write-in campaign for re-election shortly thereafter. Byron Marshall, founder and executive director of local non-profit Community Huddle, and former MPS teacher and transit driver and worker at the non-profit Safe & Sound Teneen Rucker confirmed that they will would also present themselves as candidates in writing.
Who is running for the April 5 elections?
The April 5 ballot features six head-to-head races, which will see current incumbents and supervisors moved to new districts against new faces.
Sumner of District 1, who is also a small business owner in Shorewood, said he plans to continue focusing on the county’s parks and environment, as well as financial oversight, if he is reelected. for a second term.
“I wish I had more time so I could hopefully work on things that are important to me and effectively represent people in my neighborhood,” she said.
Although she faced no challengers in the 2020 county council race, Sumner won around 82% of the primary vote.
Sumner faces Karen Gentile, who did not respond to interview requests. Gentile finished second in the February primary to qualify for the general election.
Physician and former state lawmaker Wasserman is seeking re-election for District 3, having served on county council since 2016. He qualified for the general election with about 51 percent of his district’s vote.
He hopes to protect and develop what he considers one of the crown jewels of the county: the parks. Beyond that, he wants to fix the county’s bus and health systems, especially COVID-19 mitigation efforts and prevent the spread of virus misinformation.
He is running against newcomer Eric Rorholm, a citizen activist and recent theater and political science graduate of Marquette University, who is pushing to bring a different vision to the board, if elected.
“I’m not a millionaire. I’m not a landlord. I’m an employee and I’m a tenant,” he said. “I’m someone who really wants to fight to protect these working people and families.”
Some of the main issues he would like to tackle include public safety, such as gun violence and auto theft, racial justice, as well as affordable housing and the climate crisis.
In District 9, incumbent Patti Logsdon said she hopes to continue to focus on public safety and fiscal responsibility when it comes to county spending.
“I absolutely feel more qualified,” she said, referring to her opponent, businessman Donald G. Schwartz. “I have been in the job for four years now. I have the experience behind me.”
Schwartz is a trustee of Hales Corners Village Council. His campaign focuses on improving Milwaukee County’s parks system and developing community partnerships.
Incumbents show up in new neighborhoods
Johnson is one of the longest-serving supervisors with 22 years on the council and represents a district that covers much of Milwaukee’s northernmost neighborhoods. Although he is currently Supervisor of District 13, due to a redistricting, he will run for the District 2 seat.
He says he will seek to help the county manage its budget, support the growth of minority and women-owned businesses, promote access to social services, services for the disabled and seniors, and to combat the opioid crisis and rising crime in the county.
He said his main question for constituents is, “What can I do to help you do your job and to help you get services for your constituents?”
His challenger, Purnima Nath, a conservative who has expressed support for former President Donald Trump, ran unsuccessfully for Milwaukee County Executive in 2020, finishing fourth in the race. Nath was not available for an interview.
The veteran Weishan has also dedicated a lot of time as a supervisor, serving on the board since April 2000. While currently serving District 16, he was moved by a redistricting and will now run for the open District 15 seat.
If elected, he plans to halt the east-west expansion of I-94, provide adequate funding to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office to deal with ongoing public safety issues. In light of the pandemic, its other important component is the creation of a county-wide health service.
“These are things that only someone with my background and two decades of service, I think, will be able to accomplish compared to other people running,” Weishan said.
His opponent, Peter Burgelis, a self-proclaimed “actor” who works in the mortgage business, wants to help the newly formed minority-majority District 15, tackling issues like public safety, parks, public transit and creating better residents.
Burgelis received a diverse coalition of endorsements, which includes Ortiz-Velez and District 8 Ald. JoCasta Zamarripa, who both fought for a Latino-majority Third District during the redistricting process.
“I think it’s important that anyone who represents this neighborhood recognizes the diversity and is willing to listen to the people who live in all parts and all neighborhoods of the 15th arrondissement,” he said, explaining his doorstep. -to-door in the neighborhood, from 43rd and Howard to 48th and Lisbon on the south side.
Burgelis filed a complaint with the Elections Commission against Weishan, alleging he misrepresents his candidacy by using the term “re-elect” in his campaign materials when he is not the incumbent of District 15.
Open seat includes former state legislator
Another new face is Juan Miguel Martinez of District 12, who is a labor organizer and freelance freelance journalist.
It aims to restore Mitchell Park’s domes, improve green spaces, create a reliable public transit system, and give a collective voice to one of Milwaukee’s two Latino-majority districts.
“What sets me apart from my opponent is the fact that I’m Latino and the fact that I’m a person of color and I’ve dealt with a lot of the issues that communities of color face in the city of Milwaukee that suffers from economic inequality and racial disparity,” he said.
He won about 30% of the district’s vote in the February primary election and will face Zepnick next month, who won about 41% of the vote.
Zepnick aims to dig deeper into a range of county issues, including rebuilding the Mitchell Park domes, neighborhood revitalization efforts, green public transportation options, and working with the county executive to negotiate with the state government. State additional funding.
“I’m grateful for people’s support and for continuing to believe that I’ve become a better person and made a difference,” Zepnick told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ahead of the primary election.
Of the sexual misconduct allegations made against him, he said, “That kind of thing is a thing of the past.”
What is the Milwaukee County Council?
Candidates elected in the biennial election will serve on Milwaukee’s nonpartisan legislative body – the County Council – which has the power to pass resolutions and ordinances and, in turn, make laws, services and programs throughout the county.
Each of the 18 supervisory districts is responsible for approximately 53,000 residents and holds regular meetings through the nine standing committees and ad hoc subcommittees open to the public, including committees ranging from finance to health and safety , from the parks to the transit system.
The council is also in charge of Milwaukee County’s annual budget, which is usually finalized in early November.
In 2022 and beyond, the county faces a number of issues, including continued fiscal challenges that squeeze non-mandatory services, such as parks and transit, county infrastructure and how to spend federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. (ARPA).
The county supervisor role is a part-time position, which will pay its supervisors more than $27,400 in April. The chairman of the board will earn approximately $41,000.
Full list of candidates
Here’s who’s running for supervisor in Milwaukee County’s 18 districts:
- District 1: Liz Sumner (holder) and Karen Gentile.
- District 2: Supper. Willie Johnson, Jr. and Purnima Nath.
- District 3: Sheldon A. Wasserman (incumbent) and Eric Rorholm.
- District 4: Ryan Clancy (holder).
- District 5: Sequanna Taylor (incumbent).
- District 6: Shawn Rolland (incumbent).
- District 7: Felesia Martin (holder).
- District 8: Steven Shea (incumbent).
- District 9: Patti Logsdon (holder) and Donald G. Schwartz.
- District 10: President Marcelia Nicholson.
- District 11: Katherine Vincent.
- District 12: Josh Zepnick and Juan Miguel Martinez.
- District 13: Supper. Priscilla E. Coggs-Jones.
- District 14: Dyango Jose Zerpa.
- District 15: Supervisor John F. Weishan, Jr. and Peter M. Burgelis.
- District 16: Tony Staskunas (holder).
- District 17: Steve F. Taylor.
- District 18: No candidate is in the running for this race. Written only.